Although the authorities are aware of the horror on the streets, they tactfully choose to look the other way and rely on administrative rhetoric. While many dog bite incidents are reported across Kashmir, a few weeks ago, a case of a child who was brutally mauled by a pack of dogs just outside his home came to the fore. The pictures of his injured body, including his face, pained the souls of people who demanded concrete action on the ground. However, even those gory and horrific pictures did not move the administration to address the issue or express their pain and agony.
Regarding measures, the authorities have taken several steps, of which setting up sterilization centres was on top. While there are no updates on their functioning, the situation, at least in Srinagar, suggests that no concrete steps have been taken, and those in place are ineffective. Action is missing on the ground, and there is no denying it. A renewed action plan in consultation with experts in the field, prioritizing public safety, is necessary because stray dogs pose a significant public health risk. In addition to being a source of rabies transmission, stray dogs can also transmit other diseases and parasites, which could prove lethal.
The recent incident of a man dragging a helpless dog tied to his scooty caused widespread outrage on social media and led to his arrest by the police. While this is a step in the right direction, it raises an even more crucial question – who will be held accountable for the countless cases of men, women, the elderly, and children brutally attacked by stray dogs on the streets?
There is a need for key policy decisions to address the challenges and risks posed by the increased canine population. There is a need to adopt a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach that involves a combination of strategies such as effective sterilization, vaccination, public awareness campaigns, collaboration with animal welfare organizations, and enforcement of animal control laws.
The government must allocate resources and implement these policies effectively to ensure the success of the program, aiming to put an end to the problem at hand, which is now risking lives, transforming into daily horror, making urgent, swift, humane, non-controversial, and result-oriented remedial measures inevitable. Enough of dilly-dallying by the administration, it is time to act now.
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